A brief ode to mothers: My grandmother is one of my favorite people in the world. She is sweet, beautiful, and an amazing cook/baker of all things Italian.
She has wonderful stories and is one of the strongest people I know. Plus, she is kind, smart, funny, and has lived an incredible life and raised three children who share those traits. One of the first things my husband and I did when we got back in town was visit my grandma who had been unable to travel for our wedding and ask her to teach us some of her recipes including some Italian cookies and homemade pasta!
My mother inherited the gift of Italian cuisine as well and got me the perfect wedding gift to celebrate that aspect of our family heritage. It’s a cookbook where she wrote all of our favorite family recipes. Some are recipes we cook for traditional events like holidays and others are favorites of certain family members or recipes they have perfected. There are also little notes and stories about the recipes. It is a gift I cherish. I especially love that the book captures my mother’s and grandmother’s handwriting.
I have been eager to tackle a recipe from this book and knew that biscotti would be the perfect one to pick because we have been guzzling coffee around here with our summer schedule and nothing goes better with fresh coffee than a biscotti to dip into it! There are many varieties of biscotti and my grandma included some of her favorites, but I decided to start simple and just make plain old vanilla- partly because anything with chocolate melts even when kept at room temperature right now and partly because I wanted my son to have an easy time eating them so I didn’t want to include whole or halved nuts. The recipe itself is fairly simple, there are only a few ingredients, but is going to take me a few more tries to master.
You bake the dough in log forms and then cut them after baking them for a bit. Then you finish baking them for a few minutes on each side. It’s hard to wait for the logs to cool just the right amount so they are not going to burn you when cutting but also not going to crumble apart! The thinner you slice the harder it is to keep them from crumbling. After the first few cuts I was on a role but there were definitely a few misshapen cookies in my batch! I also burned my fingers a time or two- not badly! No more ER visits here (knock on wood!)
As you can see from the before and after taste test pictures, I’m happy to say the love of Italian food carries on to the next generation. I’m not sure which I enjoy more- the cookie or the coffee- and THAT is saying something!